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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Hurricanes and Sharks nailbiter from Wellington

The Hurricanes and Sharks nailbiter from Wellington

The Hurricanes and the Sharks couldnt be separated on the score sheet with 30 seconds left in their Super 14 meeting at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on the weekend. To avoid the spoiler, stop reading now and skip to the clip.

Ruan Piennar put in a great individual display as he answered his critics by staying composed late in the game, bringing back memories of that classic encounter between the Sharks and the Crusaders in Durban a few seasons back.

He kicked 19 points with seven out of eight kicks at goal, including the winning penalty kick from 49 meters out with time up. His return to form is much appreciated by the struggling Sharks, who lost their first five matches of this years campaign.

"I don't believe he is as strong mentally as we'd all love him to be," Springbok coach Peter De Villiers said when speaking about Pienaar recently.

"He has everything when it comes to skills and talent, but he seems to be missing that one little thing between the ears that could make him the great Springbok that I thought he'd be by now.

"Some people are motivated internally, but I think Ruan thrives on external motivation. He needs constant reassurance, and responds well to praise, whereas a guy like Morne Steyn is the opposite, he explained.

Young fullback Patrick Lambie scored early on for the Sharks as they got out to a lead before Pienaar and Wilie Ripia exchanged penalties, with the visitors going into the break with a 13-6 lead. Piri Weepu then came on and slotted two kicks.

JP Pietersen then finished off an excellent flowing movement that had all the hallmarks of a classic Sharks try of old. Despite the lead, Maa Nonu and the Hurricanes struck back, and while Pienaar kept slotting his kicks, they later equalized with a Victor Vito try and excellent Weepu conversion, taking the scores to 26-26.

A penalty was then awarded to the Sharks near the halfway line, and as the hooter sounded, Pienaar coolly slotted the kick under massive pressure, giving the Sharks the 29-26 win.

"Pretty happy when a boy stands up like that to take the kick. I saw him leaning to the left (watching the flight of the ball) and nearly had a heart attack," said Sharks captain John Smit afterwards.


:: Related Posts ::
Sharks beat Crusaders in the dying seconds
Time: 05:56

Posted at 11:00 am | 11 comments

Viewing 11 comments

Anonymous March 31, 2010 12:28 pm

Interesting comments from Peter De Villiers regarding the differences between Pienaar and Steyn.

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Phil March 31, 2010 12:32 pm

I'm guessing Goode didn't play?

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FrankyH March 31, 2010 12:37 pm

Goode started the match, and took the kick-off, Phil. He went off later to bring Kockott on. I can't remember if it was tactical or injury forced.

Jacques Botes - so underrated. I don't think he's ever been physical enough to play Test rugby (not for SA anyway), but what a great player.

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Cheis March 31, 2010 1:24 pm

pienaar is not the best place kicker, but does seem thrive under pressure!!

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cheis March 31, 2010 1:24 pm

seem to :)

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HM March 31, 2010 1:31 pm

That kick by Piri Weepu (sp?) was a classic - no mucking about, just stepped up and slotted it.

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Anonymous March 31, 2010 6:21 pm

you could count the amount of people in the westpac from the clip.

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ConnachtFan March 31, 2010 6:24 pm

Lots of empty seats.....not quiet the Heinieken cup in terms of popularity is it? Are ticket prices over priced?

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Bokke_2007 March 31, 2010 8:16 pm

Nah i don't think it's a case of over-pricing the tickets. The tribal loyalties of fans in the Heineken cup is what sets it apart really, that and the fact that it's a knock out so each game matters more. It's also just a tad easier to travel to Dublin from Leicester than it is to fly from Durban to Wellington. It's not really something you can do for a weekend!

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Benson March 31, 2010 9:48 pm

36 000 capacity there. There was probably at least 15 000 at the match, which would fill a lot of UK/Ireland stadiums I'm imagine. I know Kingsholm and the Rec would be pumping with that amount.

The point made above is a valid one. That would ONLY be Hurricanes fans, or Sharks fans who live there. There's no way anyone would travel across just for that match as it's way too costly.

It's not quite the same as the Munster army heading across through Europe, so you can't really compare. I suppose that's one reasons the Heineken Cup is popular with fans too.

Brilliant finish to the match by the way. Lovely kick under pressure

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Anonymous April 06, 2010 12:56 am

The S14 gets, on average, 5,000 people more to a game than the HC.
The average in the heineken Cup is 15,000, the S14 is 20,000.
The difference is the stadiums used.
In the S14 the average stadium size is 40,000 capacity, so they stadiums always look half empty.
In Europe most rugby is played at tiny 10,000 or 15,000 seat stadiums, so they are often full.
There are actually less people at HC games then S14 games though.

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